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Appeal Court Indefinitely Adjourns Judgment On Jegede’s Appeal

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 18, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday indefinitely adjourned judgment in the appeal filed by the substituted candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede SAN.

Jegede, who belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, had appealed the decision of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja directing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to substitute his name with Jimoh Ibrahim as the party's candidate for the election.

The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-man special appeal panel, which heard the appeal marked: CA/A/551C/2016 and other appeals relating to the Ondo PDP dispute, had scheduled judgment for 12noon Friday (today) in the Jegede appeal.

But upon resumption of proceedings, parties and all in court were however surprised when Justice Saulawa said the judgment and all other issues would be suspended until the Supreme Court decides a motion for stay of proceedings pending before it.

The Saulawa panel also adjourned all other pending appeals, including the one filed by Makarfi, relating to the dispute over the governorship ticket of the PDP in November 26 election.

The panel explained on Friday when its judgments on Jegede's and Makarfi's appeals were scheduled to be delivered, that it took the decision to adjourn “sine die” to await the decision of the Supreme Court on interlocutory appeals filed by the respondents.

Justice Saulawa also cited the motion filed by the respondents before the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking for an order of the apex court to disband the Saulawa panel and take disciplinary action by going ahead to hear the appeal in defiance of established judicial principle.

The nine respondents led by Biyi Poroye, who filed the motion before the Supreme Court are state officials of the Sheriff-led faction of the PDP in the South-West zone.

The appeals by Makarfi and Jegede are challenging the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29 and October 14, 2016, which INEC acted on by dropping Jegede and replacing him with Ibrahim as the party's standard bearer in the forthcoming election in the state.

But dissatisfied with the hearing of the appeals by the Saulawa panel despite their pending interlocutory appeals before the Supreme Court, Poroye and others had filed the motion before the apex court.

‎Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has fixed next Tuesday for the hearing of the motion for stay of proceedings filed by the nine respondents led by Poroye.

They are by the motion, seeking the stay of further proceedings by the appeal ‎panel pending the determination by the Supreme Court, of an appeal by the Poroye group against the panel's ruling granting leave to Jegede, Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi to appeal the June 29 judgement and October 14 ruling by Justice Abang.